Interview With A Figment, Part VI

I enter the room, and sit down.

“Thank you for seeing me under such false pretenses,” I say.

And there is a long pause.

PETER DINKLAGE:  Well, you are definitely NOT from the Little Persons’ Association of British Columbia.

PLOK:  Uh…an old drinking buddy of mine was its VP, for a couple of years?

PETER DINKLAGE:  Yeah?  What years were those?

PLOK:  Uhmm…like somewhere around 1993?

PETER DINKLAGE: I am really not very happy about this, this is kind of…what’s the word?  BAD.

PLOK:  I apologize.

PETER DINKLAGE:  I’m really not sure I have any reason to accept your apology.  Let me ask you this — I mean, I know I’m inverting the regular roles of interviewer and interviewee here, I hope you don’t mind though?

PLOK:  Sure.

PETER DINKLAGE:  So let me ask you this:  are you a crazy person?

PLOK:  I’m not.

PETER DINKLAGE:  In my experience, though, a lot of crazy people don’t know they’re crazy people.  So why are you here?

PLOK:  I just have this one question,although it might sound like a bit of a…

PETER DINKLAGE:  (raises eyebrow)

PLOK:  …A, an, huh, an…untoward question, perhaps…

PETER DINKLAGE:  Is it about my sex life?

PLOK: …What?

PETER DINKLAGE:  A lot of crazy people want to know about my sex life.  Are you a crazy person who wants to know about my sex life?

PLOK:  What?  No!

PETER DINKLAGE:  Why, does the idea that I might have a sex life offend you?  Are you that sort of crazy person?

PLOK:  No, I…NO!!

PETER DINKLAGE:  “No”.

PLOK:  That’s right: NO.

PETER DINKLAGE:  Okay.  (leans back)  So what’s your untoward question?

PLOK:  Uh…

PETER DINKLAGE:  Oh, c’mon.  You see all these camerapeople, right?  And makeup people? I’m getting interviewed in like twenty minutes, I’ve literally got another five seconds to decide about you and that’s ALL.  And honestly I think I’ve been quite generous alrea…

PLOKWHAT WAS IT LIKE PLAYING A DWARF ON “GAME OF THRONES”?!

PETER DINKLAGE:  …

PETER DINKLAGE:  …Are you fucking serious?

PLOK:  It’s a legitimate question, isn’t it?  You have to admit it’s a legitimate question.  An important question.  A question nobody’s asked, and nobody’s going to ask.  A question…(Dinklage goggles)..uh, I don’t suppose I could have a glass of water?…(Dinklage gestures to a bodyguard, who grabs me up out of my chair)…or if you have a handkerchief that would be good, it’s awfully hot in here?…(the bodyguard strongarms me to the door)…LOOK YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT EVEN GOOD LP ACTORS ALWAYS PLAY LP ROLES, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, DON’T WE PETER?!  And the writers don’t know, and the directors don’t know, but you always have to bring your personal experience of dwarfism or whatever LP thing you’ve got to the role, because no one else will, and it’s an interesting problem for a serious actor, but fucking “Game Of Thrones” is set in this weird world where being a dwarf is totally different, there are all these power relations, the dwarf dude is born rich for one thing, so how do you draw on your experience to communicate the truth of that character, did you do research into LP people in the Middle Ages, do you feel it’s essentially a modern-day show with fantasy window-dressing so you can just lean back on your Shakespeare, or does it make you think about the architecture of the modern world in a new way or do you read up on Mozart or…?

PETER DINKLAGE:  Okay, let him go.

PLOK:  (ostentatiously dusts down)  Well.  So like I was saying, I’m NOT interested in your sex life;  I’m only interested in your acting process.

PETER DINKLAGE:  Wow, you are lucky I am nice.

PLOK:  Lucky, yeah;  that’s another thing I wanted to ask you about.  I don’t know what you’re like personally, but you sure play sharp characters a lot.  Do you think it’s…

PETER DINKLAGE:  Dude, I seriously cannot answer more than one question from you, okay?  You are asking me about my life experience, and honestly, I will not lie to you, there is a book forthcoming.  There is a book forthcoming.  You look like you’re about the same age as me, and you say you’ve got a friend who was the VP of a Little Persons’ Association?

PLOK:  Yeah…

PETER DINKLAGE:  So maybe you’ve thought about it a little…I guess you would’ve had to think about it just to ask your, huh, AMAZINGLY IN POOR TASTE QUESTION, so you probably know:  my career is like something I would’ve been made fun of for imagining myself in, when I was a kid.  And as fortunate as I’ve been we are not even there yet, as far as me getting to play Hamlet in a movie…you know?

PLOK:  Yes, sure…

PETER DINKLAGE:  Or even Macbeth.  But the time is coming.  This is like the presentation of African-Americans in movies, how it slowly changed.  You went from insanely superstitious human versions of (basically) Labrador Retrievers…

PLOK:  Er…

PETER DINKLAGE:  That is NOT for publication, damn you!  But the treatment of minorities, I have to tell you if you get to the status of “lovable pets” instead of “burnable wood” then you’ve got a potential step up in the future, as shitty as that sounds.  Start as a spaniel and eventually you can be Denzel, and kick ass intellectually, and be the boss, and have the boss’ problems, all from that lowliest position…but start as a diseased rat, you know, and see how far you get!  So right now my people are fighting to get into the living rooms of the nation, I would be a dwarf Redd Foxx if I thought it would help, but fortunately I’m in a position to play a dwarf James Garner, so I’ll take that jump and hope it sticks…and I’m just glad I don’t have to play a fucking dwarf Lassie.  The LP community, we have gone through this same sequence as black people in their long struggle, though not for the same reasons, but the black experience in America, that’s sometimes a mirror for us, and an inspiration.  An icebreaker for us:  people don’t even appreciate how the black experience in America has changed the white experience in America…as far as acting goes, I mean I might not be able to play Hamlet yet, but I sure as hell could play House, right?  But, what makes inroads for LP people?  How do we get to the point where I could play Hugh Laurie’s dramatic role?  You asked a question about sharpness before, that I would say is pretty perspicacious of you, because there’s a real key thing there about what access is, culturally…

PLOK:  Wait, wait.  You could play “House”, somehow, because of Denzel?

PETER DINKLAGE:  That’s correct.  Well…it’s just one man’s opinion, but…

PLOK:  How the hell does that work?

PETER DINKLAGE:  Like I said, my friend:  there is a book forthcoming.  But, not until the right fucking time, you know what I mean?

PLOK:  But…

PETER DINKLAGEBUT, this is all shit we can only say in private right now.  And, I say again, you can’t quote me.  I go and do volunteer things, I show up at community centers, I do videochat and I answer a lot of hand-written mail…I’m all over North America, I am supportive of my community, I’ve got frequent-flier miles like you wouldn’t believe, and pages and pages of speeches, I am the Taylor Swift, I am the fucking CELINE DION, of young people like me who want to do just anything, but the time is not right for non-LP gentlemen and ladies to hear what we say when we talk in confidence, and I need your agreement on this.  Don’t you think I would’ve talked about what it was like to play a dwarf in “Game Of Thrones”, if I thought even for a second that was something anybody would hear?  Modern corn-fed America isn’t ready to accept us yet, there’s a lot of prejudice, there’s a lot of violence…I want to be the Denzel, I only fucking wish I could be the Michael Jordan…or the Muhammad Ali…but somebody else will be that one day…fuck, I’m probably nothing more than the Al Jolson, really…

PLOK:  Er…I think that was Billy Barty, actually?  The Al Jolson?

PETER DINKLAGE:  Right, get him the fuck out of here, though, will you guys?  Don’t hurt him at all.  After all, the Paiutes say a crazy man’s a holy man…and we wouldn’t want to make God angry, would we?

PETER DINKLAGE:  (mutters) Make that fucker angry, who knows what kind of shit he’ll give you to deal with…

And then the door closes, and then I am escorted politely to the elevator.  I hit the street and turn to the beach and think…

“Oh SHIT!

Now after all that I’m gonna be in trouble with Sarah too.

3 responses to “Interview With A Figment, Part VI

  1. So, here is something I think about sometimes: Spider-Man 2 (maybe the third one too; I only saw it once) is one of the few movies I’ve ever seen featuring an amputee character where the character is not ABOUT being an amputee in any way, even though this wasn’t the intent. I mean, obviously there IS a reason and you and I know what’s being set up here, but because Sam Raimi never got to do his Lizard sequel, if you’re somebody who doesn’t know ANYTHING about the comics, Curt Connors is just this guy who, you know, goes to work and teaches classes and has to tell Peter to shape up and happens to be missing a limb but doesn’t have to constantly be giving “Do you know how I lost this arm?” speeches for the benefit of the protagonist.

    Not the same thing for a number of important reasons obviously (a big one being Dylan Baker ISN’T an amputee in real life), but…

  2. That’s pretty interesting, actually! The gun on the wall never gets fired, how marvellous…

    I question my own motivation in this one, a bit — I presume a lot, possibly? Yet it’s a blog, and I don’t think I’ve actually said anything offensive. The last day I’ve been wandering around thinking of how issues of “race” affect you if you’re in the LP situation…there is possibly not a lot of privilege you get to exercise on the grounds of being a straight white dwarf, I guess? Not that I would know, but…

    It’s that I don’t know, and until I wrote this thing I never had any occasion to think about it…

    Damn it, the TIME…! It’s getting away from me again…

  3. Pingback: Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » If White America Told the Truth About Its TV Dramas For One Day It’s Whole World Would Fall Apart·

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